Donald Trump on Tuesday morning addressed a new routine he’s introduced at rallies where he asks attendees to raise their right hands and pledge to vote for him, saying he didn’t realize that some were offended by the gesture.
The former head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman, called the pledge a “fascist gesture” and compared it to a Nazi salute. During an interview on NBC’s “Today,” co-host Savannah Guthrie told Trump about Foxman’s comments and asked whether Trump would continue with the pledge.
“Well, I think it’s ridiculous. We’re having such a great time. Yesterday, I had 20,000 people in Mississippi. I had tremendous crowds in Michigan. And sometimes we’ll do it for fun, and they’ll start screaming at me, ‘Do the swear-in! Do the swear-in!’ They’re having such a great time,” Trump said in response. “Honestly, until this phone call, I didn’t know it was a problem.”
Guthrie asked Trump if he will reflect on it now that he knows some find the pledge offensive.
“Almost everybody in the room raises their hand. We’re having a good time. I never knew it was a problem,” Trump replied.
Co-host Matt Lauer jumped in and said that the pledge combined with some of Trump’s rhetoric may be why images of rally attendees with their arms raised “evokes images of Nazi Germany.”
“Well, I think that’s a big, big stretch,” Trump responded before again noting how large his campaign rallies have been.
Lauer then asked Trump if he would consider no longer asking rally attendees to take a pledge.
“Well, I’ll certainly look into it. I mean, I’d like to find out that that’s true,” Trump said. “I don’t want to offend anybody. But I can tell you, that it’s been amazingly-received, well-received.”
Watch the video via NBC:
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 8, 2016